arthur. ziggy. chancelor. wonderful.
growing up in boston in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the children’s book series arthur by massachusetts’ own marc brown was huge. i mean berenstain bears level huge. and no one fucks wit mother father brother and sister bear like 7 year old me did. no girls allowed? pfft. memorized that after one read through. sick fort. the one about lying? always thought father bear should’ve brought the belt out, but he wore overalls like some kind of anthropomorphic yokel, so he prolly didn’t even have one. beltless.
i even remember going to a meet and greet with mr. brown and had my whole collection autographed by the legend himself. he had a thing early on where he would hide the names of his kids in different parts of the book as a little shout out to them, so after the meet and greet i remember telling all the girls in 2nd grade that he put my name in one of his books because he knew i was his biggest fan. sick pickup line on the playground. smooch city during nap time.
so when i saw today that chance the rapper did his own fantastic take on ziggy marley’s original theme song (that currently has 334 plays according to my itunes) to the cartoon adaptation that i still watch on pbs once in a while, i was a little hesitant but still hopeful that he would bring something unique to this masterpiece. well there was never any point to being nervous because dude absolutely crushed it. phenomenal version. been listening nonstop for 3 hours, no joke.
it starts out slow with a group of singers repeating the same phrase in different registers and emphasis (is that a term?) with a steady and deliberate piano and cymbals as the only backing instruments. at 1:52 the first verse comes in with another backing chorus, and that first elongated “heyyyy” gives me chills every time. the horns come in for the last minute at 2:29 and from there it’s just a cavalcade of crescendos and pure joy. the acapella in the last 10 seconds is the cherry on top and the perfect coda to my new favorite song of the summer.
is this a “call me maybe” summer jam? no. it’s even better than that. this song just makes me feel good. uplifting, joyous and hopeful in the very best possible ways. if it didn’t deserve it’s own little mini writeup this would be a perfect “hallelujah it’s morning” wake up post. perhaps it can be both. but right now, i’m just basking in it’s simple happiness. this song is the perfect example of what i love most about music and is the biggest thing i take away from the art form as a whole. nothing makes me feel better than music like this.